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Terror suspect arrested at Uhuru's home mentally ill

24 April 2015, 08:01

Nairobi - A man who was arrested for allegedly being involved in an extremist plot to attack President Uhuru Kenyatta's rural home is mentally ill, his brother said Thursday.

Said Mire Siyad, 46, has been receiving psychiatric treatment since 2004 for chronic schizophrenia at a government hospital, according to his brother, Ahmed Mire.

Mire said Siyad didn't trespass on the president's compound.

"He told me he just walked over to the policemen guarding the residence and asked to talk to the president and his mother," Mire said. Mire said he believes his brother was arrested because he is Muslim and Somali. Human groups have previously accused police of profiling Muslim and Somalis in their crackdown on extremism.

Security forces have increased the frequency of arrests of people suspected of involvement in extremism since four gunmen from the Somali extremist group al-Shabab killed 148 people earlier this month at a college in Garissa.

The 26-year-old Mire said he was hosting his brother who had travelled to Nairobi on Monday to receive treatment for his condition. Siyad stays with an uncle in the eastern town of Garissa, Mire said.

Also read: Four terror suspects arrested in Mombasa

Siyad left home on Tuesday and didn't return, Mire said. Mire said he received a call on Wednesday from the Anti-Terrorism Police Unit informing him that his brother was arrested trespassing on Kenyatta's rural home in Gatundu South and was suspected of carrying out surveillance for al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab extremists, who have vowed to carry out attacks in Kenya.

Police took Siyad to court Wednesday to request more time to investigate him. Prosecutor Daniel Karuri told the court that time is needed to extract data from the suspect's mobile phone.

"The respondent is believed to have been sent to the presidential residence to carry out surveillance for a terrorist attack," the prosecutor said. The court gave police 15 days to carry out their investigation.

Police say al-Shabaab militants have carried out more than 125 attacks in Kenya between 2012 and 2015 killing more than 472 people. Kenya deployed troops to Somalia in 2011 to fight al-Shabaab, which the government blamed for cross border attacks.

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- AP


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